The art of regulating nanotechnologies

The recently published International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies has a rather unconventional cover image. But it’s one that I must confess I am rather pleased with. The image is a photo of a piece of Murano glass that I picked up several years ago while visiting Venice. At the time I was participating in a ...

International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies – sneak peak of contents

Back in the mists of time, I was approached with a crazy proposition – would I help co-edit a book on nanotechnologies regulation!  In a moment of weakness I said yes, and a little more than two and a half years later, the book is finally about to hit the shelves. I actually think the ...

5 mins

TSCA reform and engineered nanomaterials

A bit of a wonky blog I’m afraid, but having seen relatively little on the recently introduced Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 and its relevance to engineered nanomaterials on the web, I thought I would post something short and sweet here. Just over a week ago, Senator Lautenberg introduced a bill in the US Senate ...

7 mins

White House plans a new government policy coordination group on emerging technologies

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) plans to form a new interagency group on emerging technologies, including nanotechnology and synthetic biology.  The announcement was make by Tom Kalil, deputy director for policy at OSTP, at a government-organized workshop on Risk ...

9 mins

Nanotechnology: Weighing the risks of regulation

I’m often intrigued by the evolution of an article from its early drafts to the final version.  To complement today’s commentary on nanotechnology regulation in the journal Nature, written jointly with David Rejeski, I thought it would be interesting to post an early draft of the same paper here.  This is what the piece looked ...

4 mins

New carbon nanotube study raises the health impact stakes

I’m looking at an electron microscope image of a carbon nanotube – as I cannot show it here, you’ll have to imagine it.  It shows a long, straight, multi-walled carbon nanotube, around 100 nanometers wide and 10 micrometers long.  There is nothing particularly unusual about this.  What is unusual is that the image also shows ...

1 min

New life, old bottles: The video

A five-minute primer on the promise and challenge of first-generation synthetic biology As an addendum to the previous post on synthetic biology, the following interview from the Wilson Center provides a great overview of what synthetic biology is all about, and the potential challenges of ensuring its safe development and use: [flashvideo file=http://www.nanotechproject.org/multimedia/flash/synbio2/rodemeyer-small.flv /] For ...

4 mins

Are we ready for synthetic biology?

A new report looks at the challenges of regulating first generation products of synthetic biology. At the J. Craig Venter Institute, scientists are on the verge of creating a living organism from “dead” chemicals, by rebooting a microbe with a new—and completely artificially constructed—genome. At the University of California Berkeley, researchers are modifying microbes to ...

4 mins

Biohacking—synthetic biology for the technologically marginalized

Last June I wrote a short piece on biohacking, prompted by a UK report on the social and ethical challenges of synthetic biology.  At the time, I though the aspirations of the nascent biopunk community naively optimistic, but potentially worrying.  Six months on, biohacking is hitting the mainstream press—and gaining momentum.   Maybe it was ...

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